It is common for parents to be unsure about what is considered normal behavior in their newborns. Babies develop at different rates, yet they still follow many of the same patterns of behavior. You should not be alarmed if you notice your newborn has not met the behavior milestone for their age. Nevertheless, learning about their reflexes, crying patterns, and the development of their senses, including vision and hearing, can indeed give you a clue for determining when it is essential to call your pediatrician.
During your baby’s first week, they will try to keep their position in the womb, known as the fetal position. Your baby will make a snug bundle, holding their arms and legs close to the rest of their body, with their fists gripped, elbows bent, and feet curved inwards. You should be able to gently straighten your baby’s extremities from this position. After a couple of weeks, as your baby gains more control over their movements, they will naturally start unfolding their extremities, hands, and feet.
You should know that newborns cry many hours per day. This is how they express their needs and discomfort. Babies cry when they are hungry, sick, tired, too cold or too hot, have a wet diaper, have gas, need to be comforted, and even when they are over-stimulated. From the early days, babies are notably noisy and make other sounds beyond crying: they sneeze, hiccup, burp, and gurgle, as well as a variety of grunts, squeaks, and sights. Most of these sounds are their reaction to disturbances in their environment, such as high-pitched sounds and intense odors. After a couple of months, your baby will also make “baby talk”, the cooing or babbling through which they express themselves.
Your baby’s cries and sounds are proof that their senses are functioning well. After spending many months in the womb, babies can recognize their mother’s voice. A couple of weeks after birth, they might even turn toward it. Babies are capable of distinguishing between different sounds. For instance, when listening to soothing music, babies may calm themselves. Babies can also differentiate breast milk from other liquids by using their sense of smell and taste.
Newborns can see from very early. Their vision is best within an 8 to 12-inch range. For example, if you’re feeding your baby, it would be possible for them to distinguish your face. Once you are farther away from this range, their eyes might wander, and it is a challenge for them to focus on one object. They will notice movement, detect contrasts between black and white objects, and see bright colors. However, they are not likely to react to images that have similar colors. This is normal for the first few months. As their eye muscles mature, their vision will improve, and both of their eyes will remain focused on one thing for a longer time. They will also be able to follow objects with their eyes. This happens around the second and third months of age. If you have any concerns about your baby’s visual development, it is essential that you consult your pediatrician.
Your baby’s most important sense might be touch. After spending nine months in a warm and stable environment, as was the womb, every new sensation after birth will come as a surprise. Some sensations will be harsh, and others will be very comforting. Babies might cringe at the sense of cold air, but they will love being rocked side to side, being wrapped in a soft blanket, and feeling the warmth of the skin-to-skin contact with their mother. Being gently touched gives babies the same comforting sensation that adults feel when being touched by their close ones. Touch gives your baby a sense of safety and comfort, and a feeling of being loved. This emotional bonding has been proven to promote a baby’s growth and development.
Understanding your newborn can be challenging at first. Soon you will tell their preferences, how they prefer to be soothed, and what they need when they make certain gestures. Remember you are not alon犀利士
e and that you can always count on your pediatrician when you are uncertain about your baby’s behavioral development.